Skylight Books | 1818 N Vermont Ave | Los Angeles, CA 90027
During his many years writing for publications such as LA Weekly, the Los Angeles Times, Slake, Surfer's Journal and more, Joe Donnelly has driven to Texas with Wes Anderson, shot pool with Sean Penn, surfed with Chris Malloy, sparred (verbally) with Christian Bale, gone on a date with Carmen Electra, and listened to tall tales told by Werner Herzog. These profiles, which also include encounters with Drew Barrymore, Lou Reed, Craig Stecyk,the wolf OR7, the Z-boys and others who have indelibly stamped the cultural landscape, drill through the facade of fame to get at the core humanity behind the myth-making. This collection manages to show Los Angeles' biggest export in a light in which it is rarely seen.
Joe Donnelly is an award-winning journalist, writer and editor who lives in Los Angeles His short story “Bonus Baby”, published in the spring/summer 2015 issue of Zyzzyva, is featured in the 2016 O. Henry Prize Stories Collection as one of the 20 best short stories of the year. His work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Review of Books, LA Weekly, Mother Jones, Huck, takepart.com, Orion, The Surfer’s Journal, Washington Post, Detour, The Times of London, and many more national and international publications.
Donnelly’s work has also appeared in a several anthologies and collections. In addition to the O. Henry Prize Story Collection, his short story “50 Minutes“, co-authored with Harry Shannon, was selected for The Best American Mystery Stories, 2012 and was recently made into a short film starring Stephen Tobolowsky and DJ Qualls. “Wet” was featured in the environmental-journalism collection Naked: Writers Uncover The Way We Live On Earth. “John Vs. Paul” appeared in Rock and Roll Cage Match: Music’s Greatest Rivalries Decided, and Donnelly’s “The Lone Wolf”, written for Orion, was a 2013 longreads.com editor’s pick and a 2014 Pen Center USA Literary Awards Finalist for Journalism. Donnelly was also nominated for a 2015 Pen Center USA Literary Award for Journalism and a Society of Environmental Journalists Award for Environmental Reporting.
He is currently Visiting Assistant Professor of English and Journalism at Whittier College.
Before his Whittier engagement, Donnelly was the executive editor of Mission and State, an exercise in dynamic, in-depth digital journalism. Donnelly was hired in January 2013 to start up this nonprofit, Santa Barbara-based project, funded through national grants and local matching funds. When he left in March of 2014, Mission and Statehad earned a national reputation and had attracted a deeply engaged and dedicated readership while changing the narrative on important and complex stories involving the environment, policing, politics, a gang-injunction proposal and more.
Prior to that, Donnelly co-founded and co-edited Slake: Los Angeles, the best-selling, award-winning quarterly of long-form journalism, fiction, essay, poetry, photography and art. In just four issues, Slake made a dozen appearances on the Los Angeles Times‘ bestsellers list. Work appearing in Slake has earned numerous awards and recognitions, among them: multiple Best American series selections, Livingston Award finalists, PEN USA finalists, LA Press Club awards, Franco-American Foundation’s Excellence in Immigration Reporting First Prize, and more. In 2014, Rare Bird Books published We Dropped A Bomb On You: The Best of Slake, I-IV.
From 2002 through 2008, Donnelly was the deputy editor of the LA Weekly. Soon after his arrival at the Weekly, the paper embarked on an unprecedented winning streak, earning more journalism awards than any other alternative newspaper in history, including a Pulitzer Prize, while also making record profits. Donnelly trained and developed award-winning investigative journalists, including best-selling authors, edited or top-edited a lion’s share of the cover stories and features, and was integral to a redesigning and modernizing of the paper.
Before joining the Weekly, Donnelly was the arts editor of New Times Los Angeles. Prior to that he was the editor of the seminal pop-culture magazine Bikini and an editor at RayGun, the revolutionary David Carson-designed music and culture magazine. He was also the founding editor of the groundbreaking snowboarding magazine, Stick.
Somewhere along the way, Donnelly helped launch EXPN, ESPN’s extreme-sports website, now fully integrated into ESPN.
For a brief time, Donnelly ran his own multimedia and design firm, Buckboard 11, which, among other things, executed pro model graphics for the likes of snowboarder Tara Dakides, published a graphic novel called Coolhunted and helped design and brand a high-end denim line.
In his multidimensional career, Donnelly has interviewed, among others, Colin Powell, Jack Kemp, Desmond Tutu, Ray Charles, Werner Herzog, Wes Anderson, Sean Penn, Christian Bale and too many others to remember. He has written long-form piece about pirates, wolves and endangered tortoises.